Bradley Wiggins' historic season capped by Tour de France and Olympic wins
Bradley Wiggins' historic 2012 was crowned by his naming as BBC Sports Personality of the Year. We look back at the Team Sky star's incredible year...
Last Updated: 18/12/12 2:58pm
Bradley Wiggins: Tour de France and Olympic triumphs capped a perfect season
Perfection is seldom achieved in sport. Throw in a couple of hundred bustling bike racers, broken road surfaces, crashes aplenty, and it's even rarer in cycling.
But in 2012, Bradley Wiggins came about as close to that heightened state as most sportspeople get.
His crowning achievements were becoming Britain's first winner of the Tour de France in July and then claiming his fourth Olympic gold medal in the time trial just ten days later.
Yet there was so much more to his season than just standing on the top step of the podiums in Paris and London.
Wiggins executed brilliantly a plan that had been in place since summer 2011, when he was forced to abandon that year's Tour de France with a broken collarbone, and in so doing established himself as one of the greatest all-round riders in history.
His streak of success began with victory in March's Paris-Nice after a near-flawless performance over eight days in France.
Although it was followed by withdrawal from the Volta a Catalunya due to severe bad weather, Wiggins took a second title of the year a month later with another dominant display at the Tour of Romandy.
His impressive form was marking him out as a clear favourite for the Tour de France, and thereby placing added expectation on his shoulders, but it was all part of Team Sky's plan to get Wiggins used to the pressure and responsibilities associated with wearing the race leader's jersey.
He would get another taste of life in the spotlight at the Criterium du Dauphine in early June, when he once again held a monopoly over the maillot jaune. He claimed the overall race lead on the first stage and didn't lose it, completing another dominant victory six days later and retaining his 2011 title in the process.
Then came the Tour - both his and Sky's ultimate goal - and once again Wiggins' superiority over the field was evident early on.
Although he struggled to keep pace with his chief climbing domestique, Chris Froome, on the toughest climbs of the race, his consistency on flatter stages and outstanding performances in the individual time trials meant a deserved overall victory was inevitable.
Wiggins also won over the world's media with his knowledge of cycling's history and sporting conduct on the road. This was never more evident than when he ordered the peloton to wait for Cadel Evans after the reigning champion had suffered multiple punctures as a result of carpet tacks being thrown on to the road. L'Equipe, the French sports newspaper, later called Wiggins "Le Gentelman".
After sealing victory in Paris, where he even helped lead out Mark Cavendish for a fourth victory on the Champs-Elysees, Wiggins immediately turned his attention to the Olympic Games.
Despite being forced to come down from the high of Paris and refocus on London in such a short period of time, he once again blew all opposition away to win his seventh Olympic medal in total - on both road and track - in a supreme time trial performance in front of his home fans.
It was a success that ensured Wiggins's script for 2012 had been followed almost to the letter. The near-perfect season.